May 31st, 2012
11:10 AM ET

Face-attack suspect's mother: My son 'was no zombie'

The mother of Rudy Eugene, who was shot and killed by a police officer as he chewed the face off a homeless man in Miami, says her son was "a nice kid" who could have been subdued with a Taser rather than gunfire.

"He was a good kid. He gave me a nice card on Mother’s Day. Everyone says he was a zombie. He was no zombie. That was my son,” the mother, who asked that her name not be revealed, told CNN affliate WFOR.

'Zombie apocalypse' trending as bad news spreads quickly

Eugene, 31, was killed by a police officer on Saturday after an 18-minute attack on a homeless man, identified by police as 65-year-old Ronald Poppo. Video of the incident shows Eugene coming across Poppo on a sidewalk along Miami's MacArthur Causeway, stripping clothes off him and eventually chewing on his face.

Police said Poppo lost 75% of his face in the attack. He was in critical condition at a Miami hospital.

Eugene's mother said police didn't need to shoot her son.

"They could have tased him," she told WFOR. "I saw what happened on TV and I started crying.”

Eugene's girlfriend, who also requested anonymity from WFOR, said the attacker seen in that video was nothing like the man she lived with.

“He loved God. He always read the Bible. He would give you knowledge on the Bible. Everywhere he went his Bible went. When he left he had his Bible in his hand,” the girlfriend is quoted as saying.

“That wasn’t him, that was his body but it wasn’t his spirit.  Somebody did this to him,” WFOR quotes her as saying.

Fraternal Order of Police President Armando Aguilar told CNN affiliate WPLG that he suspects Eugene was under the influence of "bath salts," a drug that contains synthetic stimulants that can "cause chest pains, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and delusions," according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

"He was a nice, outgoing, ready-to-help-anybody kind of guy," Cassandra Metayer, a high school friend of Eugene's, told WFOR. “Someone in their right mind doesn’t do that. This is not the act of a normal person. It has to be someone under the influence."

Sgt. Javier Ortiz, vice president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, said officials won't know for certain whether drugs played a role in the attack until toxicology reports are completed in a month or so. But he said police have been seeing increased incidents of drug-induced crime in the area.

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Filed under: Crime • Drugs • Florida
soundoff (1,699 Responses)
  1. Dr.Watch

    Maybe someone threatened him to use drugs and eat off someone's face.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Frank

    People of the United States of America,
    Does this face eater story really shock anyone! The insane and Psycho's are running lose all over the country.
    Of course his mother said he was quiet and harmless.How many times have we heard that.The crazies are out there,
    just pray to god and carry a gun and hope you won't be one of their victims!

    May 31, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • slickteigkcmo

      PRAY TO GOD, yes, but the gun will only , only bring more violence to our blood lusting country, it will NOT protect you from this evil, no you'll still worry, be paranoid, and probably use it someday maybe to kill an innocent teen just walking around but in your mind they are "dangerous", this thinking is dangerous and is ruining America. Your guns won't stop this or save you ......really.

      May 31, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • laffin

      "pray to god"

      There are more crazies than you think.

      May 31, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Alizee

    0____o hmm, Zombies are going to take over oh noes! :O run awayyy

    May 31, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dr.Watch


    May 31, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ralph M

      Did you ever notice that the mothers of all these whack jobs say "he was such a good boy". Bs . truth be told, they are disgusting parents...look at their criminal.
      Forced sterilization dont look so dad, now does it?

      May 31, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • jrzy

      What does that even mean?? Are you on bath salts!?

      May 31, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. die die

    i hate that people feel the need to defend somebody's humanity, in light of their heinous crime, as a bible-reading saint. obviously, a lot of bible-readers are the furthest things from saints. in fact, a lot of bible non-readers are decent, good people, whom would never commit most crimes. it is insulting to define a good person as one who reads a certain, controversial tome.
    i, for one, am not religious, do not care to ever read the bible, and do not do drugs, break laws, or intentionally try to harm people. you will find terrible, and good people in all walks of life.
    stop using the bible/religion as the end-all excuse for pardoning someone who has done serious wrong.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. maureen

    the zombie was hungry so he grabbed a bite to eat

    May 31, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Los

    Beautifully Said

    May 31, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. spockmonster

    Police didn't have to shoot my son. HE WAS CHEWING A GUY'S FACE OFF!!! mY SON WAS A NICE KID.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. abbotn

    "“He loved God. He always read the Bible. He would give you knowledge on the Bible. Everywhere he went his Bible went. When he left he had his Bible in his hand,” the girlfriend is quoted as saying."

    There you have it. Religious people are zombies.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ralph M

      The ones in the churches eat more than faces, just look at the news.

      May 31, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Me

    The police tried to taze him several time. It didn't work. There was nothing else they could do.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. givemeabreak

    Sorry to the "zombie's" mother, but when your son eats another person's face off, you really have no right to question what kind of force was used.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Stuie

    Reminds of when Mike Tyson took a bite outta Evander Holyfield's ear. But seriously, after thinking about this story the last couple of days, I am looking at people on the streets here in NYC and wonder if they could become face eating monsters. It's really scary.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Vigilant

    The fact that they keep calling him a ZOMBIE is straight propoganda. There is something deeper to this story. I feel for his family, as well as the homeless man. Crazy world we live in, we all really need to stick together during these tough times....

    May 31, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. maxp0wer

    Parents of zombies always deny that their kids are zombies.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jrzy

    She lived her son and he was such a nice guy that she didnt even want to claim him by using her name....yea that's support

    May 31, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
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